Big Al in England & Germany

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Horse guardsGuess where I am now?

You got it. London.

This is one of the queen's horse guards. This one is on Whitehall along from Trafalgar Square not far from Buckingham Palace.
London eyeThis big ferris wheel is next to the Thames River, right in the city. It takes half an hour to do a full revolution. You get in at the bottom while it is still moving. We didn't go up though. (I am not the only one in the family who does not like heights.)
London taxiThis is one of the famous London taxis - one of the black ones. It is flying the English flag - which is red and white - as England is currently playing in the European football competition. (They lost their first game to France.)
Mayfair readingWe went to Mayfair to see some of the old style and expensive houses (has anyone played Monopoly recently?) But I preferred to read my new book....

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Boxed inHelp!

How do I get out of here?
Trafalgar SquareIn the middle of London is Trafalgar Square with a column with Horatio Nelson on the top. Surrounding it at the bottom are four big lions. They look harmless enough, but then my name isn't Little Henry!
UndergroundLondon has an underground train system, which in most countries is called the Metro. But here it is called the Undergound!

It's symbol is that red circle with the blue line through it.
Westminster AbbeyWestminster Abbey, right across the road from the houses of Parliament at Westminster.

It is a big church.

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Salisbury cathedralSalisbury, west of London, has a very old cathedral - about 800 years old!

It is surrounded by lovely lawns and when we were there, there were very few visitors, so it was very pleasant. The cathedral is very big with a spire that goes up to 123 metres. It is very difficult trying to get the whole thing in one picture.

We had a rest here after a long walk around the town, and some tracks out into the countryside.
Just one more pieceLooks like the building of the cathedral spire is not quite complete!

I'll just add one last stone to the very top.

There, that's better!

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Last stoneAnother structure that needs an adjustment! This last stone doesn't look straight. I'll just give it a nudge to the left.

That's better!

This is Stonehenge. A prehistoric stone monument built in rural England. No-one is completely sure what it is for, but it does seem to line up with the sun at different times of year.
StonehengeNow, a little pat here to make sure it is far enough into the ground and stable.

Seems okay....
Warwick castleIn Warwick they have an old castle. An old English castle. We climbed up to the top of the wall and to the top of the tower. They had a knight and a bowman who showed us how they shoot the bow and arrows.

This is me up on the walls, and behind is the section of the castle where the Earl of Warwick lived.
The EarlThis is the Earl and the Baroness. They had a mock court in the Great Hall at the castle where they decided disputes, like they used to do in the old days.

The castle also has a dungeon where they put prisoners. It was very dark and wet and looked very uncomfortable.
UBut if you only commit a small crime, you get sent to the stocks. It might not be comfortable either, but at least it is outside!

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English gardenNear the castle is this little garden with a view over the river with an old bridge, then down river to the mill that belongs to the castle, and then the castle behind.

A nice spot for a bit of reading while waiting for the bus!
CroquetIn Suffolk we stayed a couple of days at this really good farmstay called The Hall, Milden. This is me, on the right, playing croquet with Ruby Tiger. She is a better player than me - but only because she has had more practice! She was always croquetting my ball.

Now if this was Alice in Wonderland, naturally she would be the Queen of Hearts..."Off with her head!"
ChickenfeedingOne of the daily tasks is to feed the chickens. Usually it is something leftover from the kitchen, and today it is stale bread. Lots of the hens have chicks at the moment, and to protect them from the foxes they go into little triangular prisms at nighttime, called hutches. They are well trained and know to go in by themselves once it starts to get dark.

Tooth cleaningFrom my room I have a view over the back walled garden and the croquet lawn and the gazebo. It looks lovely in summer. Because the house is very old - 16th century - everything is built from wood and sometimes the floor is not even! This is more interesting then a nuisance.

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Tudoring LavenhamIn the nearby town of Lavenham there are many houses built in the 15th and 16th century. They are called tudor houses and you can see the timbers on the outside walls. The wood is usually oak, so it lasts a long time. Most of the town is made up of these tudor houses, so it is very popular with tourists. Next time you are in Suffolk, you should go and have a look.
Harry Potter filmBack to London and we went to see Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. It was good. The movie only just opened in England, so many of the cinemas were showing it.
Tower BridgeOur last day in England (and London) and we went to see the Tower Bridge. There are two towers with a roadway across the bottom and a walkway that joins them across the top. The roadway sometimes lifts up when tall ships go through, and it lifted up just after we got there too while a wooden sailing ship went downstream. The top section is open with lots of displays, so we went up and had a look. There are good views over London and the Thames River.

After you descend again, you go under the bridge to see the machinery that was used to raise and lower the roadway. They used to use steam power provided by burning coal, but now they do it electrically.

Henry bridge climbingHenry! You peanut! Get down from there. You are not allowed to climb on the bridge - you have to use the walkway.

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Black and roundThis is the English summer - I had to wear my coat that in Australia I only wear in winter. Some days are fine and even hot, and then you can get an overcast and cold day.

I don't know why it was my job to stop this ball rolling away. (Yes, the building behind leans too.)
Photos of disastersAlong the South Bank they had this exhibition of photographs in black and white, from news jouralists from all over the world who had taken pictures in areas of disaster and conflict to show some of the effects of war and earthquakes. There were a lot of pictures from Africa and Yugoslavia. They were interesting.
Last stop - VictoriaThe underground train system in London is known as the Underground, funnily enough. Victoria station was our last stop on our way out of England, which was by bus from the Victoria Coach Station.
Leaving EnglandOn the ferry crossing the English Channel to France. Those are the white cliffs at Dover receding in the background. There were a lot of seagulls following the ferry too. I don't know if they were English or French seagulls as they flew all the way to France.

It was also very windy!
Bag minderSomeone has to mind the baggage! This is the railway station in Paris on our trip between England and Germany. Behind me are the trains that all head out in the one direction through the open end of the station. This station is called Gare de Nord of the main northern train station. We are waiting for our train to Cologne in Germany, and it goes through Brussells in Belgium - these countries are all so close together.
Film crewingWhen we went downstairs to check for the train we were surrounded by a film crew! They were making a film that included scenes set in a railway station. Because it was in French we couldn't understand what they were saying, but part of the plot was obvious. They had these two detectives following a man in the station they suspected of kidnapping.

It was surprising how many people were involved - cameramen, sound technicians, lighting technicians, director, actors, grips, gaffers...and even caterers, who laid out sandwiches and drinks for everybody. We didn't have any though, we had a train to catch....
Walking in the forestOne day in Germany, near Siegen, we went for a walk along a forest trail. It was good. The forests here are very dense. With me are some of the local kids - Orchid and Dorie, they are the daughters of my mother's friends. This is not one of the areas that is remote, so we didn't see any wild animals like bears or wolves here.

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RecyclingThe Germans are very good at recycling. They have good facilities around for people to put their rubbish in different containers - paper, dark glass, light glass and plastic. You have to buy plastic bags at the supermarket if you want them. There is a deposit on plastic drink bottles so that you return them for recycling. These are good ideas, and Australia should do more environmentally friendly things like this.
Lake cruiserOn another day we went for a boat cruise on a lake at Olpe. It took two hours to go around the lake which was interesting as we saw a lot of people sailing and the surrounding forests.

With us is my mother's friend, Mora, and his daughter, Malin.
Sailors - all of themThis is a view of the lake. There were no motor boats apart from our ferry, so maybe the lake is used as water supply for some of the local towns.

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